Update: More Pisgah National Forest Roads Closed

Published Feb 4, 2014

Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest

Our friends at the U.S. Forest Service office at North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest will be closing roads to protect the fragile ecosystem in their area.

They're about to begin the first phase of an ecosystem improvement project in the Pisgah Ranger District that includes 64-acres of timber harvesting.

The Brushy Ridge project will provide a number of environmental benefits, such as controlling non-native species, improving fish habitat and promoting wildlife habitats.

To help ensure public safety during timber harvesting activities, the Forest Service will close trails and roads in the Trace Ridge Area of Henderson County, beginning in early February 2014 and continuing through May 2014.

The following trails and roads will be closed through May 2014:

  • Hendersonville Reservoir Road (FS 142);
  • Fletcher Creek Road (FS 5097), to intersection with Spencer Gap Trail (Trail 600);
  • Wash Creek (Trail 606);
  • Trace Ridge (Trail 354);
  • North Mills River (Trail 353); and
  • Yellow Gap Trail (Trail 611).

Trace Ridge Trailhead will not be accessible and the use of the trails and roads is prohibited. Please use caution while traveling in the area, particularly Wash Creek Road as logging trucks will be on the area roads.

Update 2-4-14

The U.S. Forest Service is closing additional roads in the Pisgah National Forest:

  • Yellow Gap Road (1206) from junction with Wolf Ford Road to just before North Mills River Recreation Area
  • Courthouse Creek Road (140)
  • Headwaters Road (475B)

Access will remain open to North Mills River Recreation Area and Wolf Ford Horse Camp.

Seasonal freeze and thaw caused soft road conditions that make driving difficult. Additional traffic can increase damage to roads and cause sediment runoff into adjacent streams. These conditions also create a public safety concern because of the likelihood of having difficulties traveling on the road, including the possibility of becoming stranded. The duration of these closures will be determined by weather conditions.

The Forest Service designed the Brushy Ridge project to fulfill management objectives in the current Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest management plan. This project allows the agency to implement a variety of management activities to improve ecological diversity, as well as promote forest health and sustainability.

The Forest Service's management practices will:

  • Regenerate favorable tree species such as oaks and hickories and maintain a variety of hardwood tree species;
  • Improve the growth and health of remaining trees through thinning treatments;
  • Improve habitat for aquatic species, including trout, by replacing culverts and bridges that are restricting flow and causing erosion issues;
  • Improve habitat for wildlife, including game species such as turkeys and non-game species;
  • Control non-native invasive species;
  • Plant hybrid American Chestnut trees as a first step toward restoring them to Southern Appalachian forests and plant blight resistant butternut seedlings; and
  • Designate an additional 231 acres of old growth forest areas.

Later this spring or summer, the Forest Service will implement the second phase of this project, which involves an additional 63 acres. Seniard Mountain Road (FS 5001) and Bear Branch Trail (Trail 328) will be closed during that phase.

Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Closings, and US Forest Service

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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